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Read all about it! NEHW announces plans to publish an official magazine

New for 2014 National Eye Health Week plans to publish Vista, an exclusive lifestyle magazine designed to raise awareness of the importance of regular sight tests and highlight how factors such as diet, exercise, smoking and UV exposure can affect your eye health.

Download the media pack for more information plus details of advertising opportunities.


Published : 15 July 2014

Ask the Expert - Optrafair London

Join David Cartwright and Francesca Marchetti for a series of Ask the Expert sessions at Optrafair London to hear why eye health promotion is so vital.

The National Eye Health Week Ask the Expert Sessions take place at the following times on Stand E22...


Friday 11 April 5pm

Saturday 12 April 12pm

Sunday 13 April 11am


Optrafair London delegates will also have the opportunity to register for a 2014 resource pack on the Optical Confederation Lounge (Stand M60).


We look forward to seeing you there.



David Cartwright speaks to Optometry Today about plans for NEHW 2014

Click here to view David Cartwright, Chair of National Eye Health Week, speaking to Optometry Today about plans for National Eye Health Week 2014 and how eye health intermediaries can get involved.


Published : 18 March 2014

NEHW at Optrafair London

National Eye Health Week will be at the inaugral Optrafair London which takes place at Olympia National in Kensington between 11 - 13 April 2014.


Watch this space for more information.


Published : 10 February 2014

NEHW 2013 Key Facts and Figures

Almost a quarter of the UK  population (23%) were aware of National Eye Health Week 2013.

The percentage of the UK population who understood they should have a sight test every two years (unless advised otherwise by their optometrist) rose 5% during the Week to 53%. The biggest rise came in
the core target group of 45 - 54 year olds which rose ten percentage points to 62%.

There were also some significant increases in public understanding of the factors that can affect eye health.

Diet up 25% from 40% to 65%
Smoking up 6% from 54% to 60%
UV exposure up 4% from 72% to 76%

More supporters than ever before (1,000 +) participated in the campaign.

Our supporter base included large retailers such as Boots UK national organisations like the DVLA, charities, independent opticians, GPs  and schools. Click here for a list of organisations who took part in NEHW 2013

Our media activity generated more than 135 million opportunities for people to see and hear important lifestyle advice.

The publicity value of the 2013 campaign was in excess of £3Million.

Coverage included: The Chris Evans R2 Breakfast Show, The Steve Wright in the Afternoon Show on BBC R2, BBC News 24 plus supplements in The Times and The Guardian.

Website traffic was up over 60%

Our social media activity included a LIVE cataract operation.

Our Twitter network reach exceeded 2 Million.



Published : December 2013


Dates For National Eye Health Week 2014 Announced

The fifth annual National Eye Health Week will run from 22  –  28 September 2014.

Further details of plans for the 2014 campaign will be announced in the coming weeks.


Published  :  11 November 2013


National Eye Health Week Announces New Chair

David Cartwright, was officially welcomed as Chair of National Eye Health Week (NEHW) when his predecessor Francesca Marchetti handed over office at a NEHW Steering Group Meeting in Central London (pictured below).

 Francesca Marchetti presents David Cartwright with NEHW Chair's badge

Francesca Marchetti presents David Cartwright with the NEHW Chair’s badge during an official handover of office at the BCLA.

Francesca comments: “It’s been a real pleasure to Chair National Eye Health Week over the past two campaigns. During this time we’ve enjoyed a ground swell of support from across the sector, which this year saw more than 1,000 individuals and organisations promoting awareness of eye health and the importance of regular sight tests for all.  This fantastic support combined with a high profile media relations campaign helped us create a real connection with the public as demonstrated by the results of an independent consumer analysis survey which found that almost a quarter (23%) of the UK were aware of National Eye Health Week 2013.

Francesca continues: “I’m delighted to be handing over the role of Chair to David. He is a credible ambassador for optics and his knowledge will be invaluable in helping to realise the future potential of NEHW.”

Commenting on his appointment David said: “Francesca has done a great job leading NEHW over the last couple of years and I’m really looking forward to working with the NEHW Steering Group Members to build on the legacy we’ve created thus far to elevate eye health up the public health agenda.“

David Cartwright represents the Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO). Prior to his appointment as Chair David was Vice Chair of the NEHW Steering Group.

David is also a Consultant Optometrist, Clinical Chair for the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Eye Health Local Professional Network and sits on the General Optical Council Standards Committee. He is also a past-President and Council Member of the College of Optometrists.

Francesca will remain on the NEHW Steering Group as past-Chair. Details of a new NEHW Vice Chair will be announced in due course.


Published  :  11 November 2013

NEHW 2013 Evaluation Has Now Closed

Thanks to everyone who took part.


Published : 9 October 2013

NEHW 2013 Evaluation Now Open!

Thanks to the amazing work of over 1000 organisations and individuals we were able to highlight a range of eye health issues to millions of people as well as key opinion-leaders and parliamentarians during National Eye Health Week (16 – 22 September 2013).

To help us evaluate this year's campaign in more detail and begin planning for future National Eye Health Weeks we would like to invite you to complete a short evaluation questionnaire.

The link below outlines ten essential questions and should take just a minute or two to complete.

NEHW 2013 Evaluation Questionnaire

The online questionnaire will close at 6pm on Wednesday 9 October 2013.

Click here to download a copy of the evaluation form saved as a Word document

Thank you in advance to everyone who takes the time to feedback their views and experiences.


New health maps highlight areas of UK at greatest risk of sight loss

The initial findings of a new report[1] commissioned by National Eye Health Week in conjunction with Vision Express reveals pockets of the UK – including Leicester, Gateshead, Liverpool, Merthyr Tydfil, Stoke-on-Trent, Grampian and the London Boroughs of Newham and Waltham Forest – at greatest risk of avoidable sight loss.


Today almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and forecasters predict a further half a million could lose their sight by the year 2020[2]. Yet, the RNIB estimates as much as half of all sight loss is avoidable.


The poor lifestyle habits and ineffective health behaviours of people in each of the at risk ‘hotspots’ indentified in the Mapping the UK’s Eye Health Report, are putting residents’ eye health and vision in danger.


Francesca Marchetti, Chair of National Eye Health Week explains: “Prevention and early diagnosis of common eye conditions are key to reducing the number of people who suffer sight loss unnecessarily. However, in areas like Leicester and Gateshead we are seeing a worrying number of people failing to take up their entitlement to free NHS sight tests and higher than average levels of smoking and obesity – two lifestyle factors linked to sight loss.”


Poor uptake of regular sight tests is probably the biggest risk to the nation’s eye health. According to the Eyecare Trust 20 million of us fail to have our eyes checked once every two years, as recommended, and one in 10 of us have never had an eye examination.


In Newham, eligible residents[3] are 30% more likely to miss out on free NHS sight tests than the national average and almost a third (32.4%) of residents smoke. The link between smoking and AMD, the UK’s leading cause of blindness, is as stong as the link between smoking and lung cancer. In fact, smokers have four times the risk of suffering AMD than past or non-smokers.


In addition to smoking and obesity other lifestyle factors that can affect the health of your eyes include your diet, exercise regime – or lack of it – and inadequate UV protection.


Omar Hassan, Head of Professional Services at Vision Express comments: “Poor lifestyle choices are taking their toll and we’re seeing younger people increasingly suffering vision problems associated with obesity and smoking. Your diet also affects your eye health so it’s important to ensure you eat a balanced diet full of eye-friendly nutrients. Nutritional supplements may be beneficial for some people, especially in areas where consumption of fruits and vegetables are low.”


Fig 1. Health behaviours of residents in key at risk locations.[4]


Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)/Health Board

Total number of NHS sight tests for the year to March 2013

Eat less than 2 portions of fruit/vegetables per day (%)
Current smoker (%)
Heavy smoker - more than 20   cigarettes per day (%)
BMI over 30 (%)
Taken no exercise in last month (%)
NHS Newham


NHS Waltham Forest


NHS Leicester City


NHS Gateshead


NHS Liverpool


Cwm Taf (encompassing Merthyr Tydfil)


NHS Stoke on Trent


Moray Community Health & Social Care Partnership (in Grampian)




Francesca Marchetti concludes: “A recent survey revealed we fear sight loss more than cancer, AIDs, stroke and heart disease. Yet, many of us are unaware of the simple steps we can take to safeguard our sight. Without greater public health promotion of the importance of regular sight tests and the affect lifestyle choices can have on vision, these at risk ‘hotspots’ could easily become ‘blind spots’.”


The full Mapping the Nation’s Eye Health Report will be published later this year.


Index of eligibility vs sight tests



Published : 27 September 2013